November 25, 2018 / 9:59 AM / 17 days ago

EU leaders endorse Brexit deal

From left, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier French President Emmanuel Macron, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and European Council President Donald Tusk during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels, Belgium November 25, 2018. Olivier Matthys/Pool via REUTERS

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders of the 27 states staying on together after Britain leaves the bloc on Sunday endorsed their Brexit deal with London, chairman Donald Tusk said.

“EU27 has endorsed the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration on the future EU-UK relations,” Tusk said after less than an hour of the leaders’ summit.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite also said after the session: “Brexit deal endorsed, but exit process far from over.”

The 27 leaders adopted an official statement in which they also committed “to take the necessary steps to ensure that the agreement can enter into force on 30 March 2019, so as to provide for an orderly withdrawal.”

The statement also promised “as close as possible a partnership with the United Kingdom” after Britain leaves on March 29, 2019, and thanked Michel Barnier, the bloc’s Brexit negotiator. They urged the UK parliament to back the deal as well.

Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, Foo Yun Chee

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